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Enterprise Mobility Transforming Public Service and Citizen Engagement


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Center for Digital Government 2013 research reveals the cost benefits and service enhancements enabled by mobile solutions.

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Enterprise Mobility Transforming Public Service and Citizen Engagement

  1. 1. Enterprise Mobility: Transforming PublicService and Citizen Engagement Researchrevealsthecostbenefitsandservice enhancementsenabledbymobilesolutions. a strategy paper from
  2. 2. 2 Enterprise Mobility: Transforming Public Service and Citizen Engagement The Essential Ingredient for More Efficient Government With global mobile penetration at approximately 74 percent and over half of the world’s population owning a cell phone1 (over 90 percent in the United States2 ), the message for state and local governments is loud and clear: Enterprise mobility is an essential ingredient to bridge the connection between governments and their constituents. From Canada and the United Kingdom to India and Australia, citizens are embracing mobile technology — and government agencies must do the same. In certain cases — where citizens may not have a TV or computer — the only way for governments to communicate with citizens is via a mobile device. The potential for this communication is almost limitless. With the right mobile solutions and strategies, agencies and municipalities can increase the efficiencies of internal operations, improve services and reduce costs. The question is, where does the public sector stand on meeting these expectations? Do expected benefits justify required investments in mobile solutions in times of tight budgets? Survey responses discussed in this paper offer important considerations to help governments effectively leverage mobile solutions. These include: • Improving the lives of constituents by delivering better services, enabling safer communities, and enhancing educational and public health outcomes EnterpriseMobility:TransformingPublicService andCitizenEngagement Research reveals the cost benefits and service enhancements enabled by mobile solutions. Executive Summary In late 2013, the Center for Digital Government (CDG) launched a comprehensive research study to document the state of enterprise mobility in government in the U.S. and throughout the world.3 Specifically, the survey sought to identify the top drivers pushing agencies and municipalities to increase their commitment to mobile solutions. Respondents were also asked to provide details about the impact enterprise mobility is having in key departments, including public safety, health care, social services and transportation. Additionally, the survey looked at stakeholder perceptions of how mobile technologies affect citizen engagement and government-to- citizen communication, and vice versa. This white paper presents these findings and discusses the top benefits of mobile technologies to government agencies as identified by survey respondents. It also discusses the top four areas in which mobile technologies have the promise of delivering the greatest impact and provides specific examples of municipalities that are achieving success in these areas. Throughout the paper are graphics with data pulled from the survey, which are meant to provide readers with an awareness of their peers’ opinions when it comes to mobile solutions and the ways in which they see them as most beneficial to their organizations.
  3. 3. 3 • Achieving greater operational efficiency through technology that delivers a clear return on investment for taxpayers • Planning a successful mobile roadmap for the future An overwhelming majority of global respondents to the CDG survey agreed on two overarching conclusions: Improving services and public education while reducing costs are the greatest measurable benefits expected. Secondly, mobile solutions can positively change the relationship between governments and their citizens. The Value of Mobile Solutions Reducing costs and improving efficiencies. It’s no surprise that in today’s era of tight budgets, the financial impact of any new technology, including mobile solutions, receives close scrutiny. The good news, however, is that an impressive 85 percent of global respondents agreed that mobile solutions can directly reduce expenses in agency operations. The ways mobile solutions impact public sector expenses are as varied as the missions of each agency and the constitu- ents it serves, but a handful of practical use cases highlight cost-saving opportunities. In Olmsted County, Minn., mobile technology enables a quarter of the Community Services Department’s staff to telecommute and to be free from their desks, regularly work- ing from the field. This is significant because the county has experienced a sharp spike in need for food sup- port and health care services since the recent recession. ”It became difficult to keep up with demand, so one solution was allowing some staff members to telecommute in return for taking on additional caseloads,” says Paul Fleissner, director of Olmsted County Community Services.4 ”Our casel- oads grew, in some cases 15 to 20 percent or more, depending on the program. I was able to show that we avoided additional costs because I was not growing my staff commensurately. It also helped us retain people, and we’ve actually attracted people from other counties because we have such a strong telecommut- ing policy.” In a parallel move that boosted efficiency, Olmsted County created a mobile app that citizens use to navigate social services resources. After completing a survey that identifies their needs, citizens see a list of suggested services via the app. They can click on items for short descriptions and links to the associated website. Not only do constituents locate information more quickly, the social services staff is fielding fewer questions about services from citizens. ”The people who may be the most excited about the app at this point are on my staff,” Fleissner says. Another cost saver for agencies is a reduction in paper- based processes thanks to the electronic data capture and delivery capabilities of mobile applications. Some munici- palities are moving to paperless ticketing for rail service, which enables travelers to purchase and download an electronic ticket using their smartphones or tablets. For example, in London the government recently decided to invest 2.5 million pounds in a trial of smart ticketing to rail passen- gers. Smart ticketing will trigger automatic ticket gates for riders and make it easier for them to purchase tickets online and collect them at stations.5 Boosting workforce satisfac- tion and productivity. Over 90 percent of all respondents agreed that the flexibility afforded by mobile solutions can increase workforce satisfaction. Mobile technologies enable employees to work where they are most effective — whether that be from home or in the field for road warriors, case workers or public safety individuals. During weather emergencies or other situations where it is difficult for employees to make it into the office, mobile Global Government Leaders Overwhelmingly Agree: Mobility Brings Big Benefits Source: CDG/Governing Institute Enterprise Mobility Survey, 2013 agree mobile solutions increase workforce satisfaction 90% 85% agree mobile solutions reduce operations expenses agree mobile solutions improve workforce productivity 90%
  4. 4. 4 Enterprise Mobility: Transforming Public Service and Citizen Engagement4 Enterprise Mobility: Transforming Public Service and Citizen Engagement technologies can ensure the wheels of government keep turning. Employees remain notified of what is happening in the workplace, can still provide needed approvals and communicate mission-critical decisions. Transactions and activities keep moving. Agencies throughout the world are also using mobile solutions to streamline their internal operations. For example, over 90 percent of global respondents said mobile technology can increase the productivity of their workforces. Ready access to information is one of the reasons for this. For example, when municipal workers receive alerts regard- ing newly reported potholes or broken water mains while in the field, the information they need is automatically included. Workers can view relevant documents, including GIS maps identifying gas mains, power lines and telecommunications fiber, accelerating repairs. Not only does this reduce costs associated with repairs and damage to personal property, it reduces traffic congestion and health issues. Increasing public and employee safety. Enterprise mobility creates a safer work environment for employees by providing critical real-time information. For example, agents with the Social Services Department of Hanover County, Va., use mobile devices to access central state records for child and protective services, law enforce- ment agencies and other departments. The information is essential when a staff member is called out in the middle of the night to check on the welfare of a child. ”For us, mobile technology has helped enormously when it comes to safety,” says Sheila Crossen-Powell, director of the Social Services Department.6 ”We can look up a family and discover if it is known to us or other agencies. If we identify that there are guns in the house or perhaps a family member with a drug record, we would definitely ask the police to accompany us,” Crossen-Powell says. She adds that the information downloaded from the state systems is secured with a virtual private network (VPN). In the past, the information would only be available if the case worker first stopped at a department office, which delayed response times. ”Our staff loves this resource — they feel safer, they have more information so they’re better prepared when they respond to a call, and together that improves morale for our people,” she says. Mobile technologies also arm public safety officials with the data they need to make informed decisions on the fly. When asked to choose the safety benefits enhanced by mobile technology, the first choice for global respondents was the ability of response teams to access the right real-time information, make decisions quickly and respond appropriately. Short-Term Revenue Boosts and Long-Term Gains Mobile technologies can reduce costs in many ways, but the biggest or most immediate savings result from doing more with less and improving workforce productivity. For the cash-strapped government agency, seeing immediate results can be extremely gratifying. Jefferson City, Mo., provides a good example. The state’s Department of Transportation decided to shut down two major interstates for an entire year, rather than keep a lane or two of those interstates open and drag out the timeline for rebuilding. Additionally, it would have put workers’ lives at risk. Instead, the state provided mobile apps and maps to residents to help them maneuver around the highways and find alternate routes. The cost savings from using mobile apps to reroute drivers for a shorter period of time, rather than keeping lanes partially open, was $100 million.7 Wins like these are encouraging some public sector leaders to take a long-term view of mobile solution oppor- tunities as hardware and software technology evolves and mobile usage increases. For example, a large majority of survey respondents expect mobility-fueled improvements in government transactions with citizens, such as tax payments and license purchases. Tourism and access to detailed visitor information will also benefit from mobile innovations, according to 69 percent of global respondents. For example, the city of Ottawa, Canada, encourages tourism through a smartphone app that gives tourists an easy way to find information about attractions and events. Users can also get airline and public transporta- tion information, as well as scan QR codes around the city. Tourists can create social media-integrated custom postcards as well for additional fun.8 These uses of mobile technologies directly impact the economy and increase overall revenue. In addition, an impressive 79.5 percent of respondents see mobile solutions helping improve road and traffic
  5. 5. 55 conditions, while 72.5 percent of respondents envision better public safety and emergency response performance. Similarly, 57 percent of respondents see mobile technolo- gies enhancing citizen engagement with law enforcement. 4 Areas Where Mobile Has the Biggest Impact While expectations are high for future mobile innova- tions, there are four core areas of government that are being positively impacted by enterprise mobility now. 1. Community awareness and citizen engagement A majority of survey respondents report that mobile solutions can fundamentally alter relationships between citizens and government. In fact, an impressive 95 percent of global public sector stakeholders see positive changes in these relationships thanks to mobile solutions. This happens through better communications that improve public awareness, something over 40 percent of global survey participants strongly agreed is a benefit of enterprise mobility. Two-way real-time communication with context — including images, pictures, video, documents and more — help create an entirely different experience for constitu- ents connecting with their government. This community awareness and citizen engagement with mobile technologies is a global phenomenon. For example, in Niger, Africa — a country that only recently returned to democratic rule — citizens are able to communicate with the justice depart- ment through text messaging. By sending the word JUSTICE to 311, constituents can enter into a conversation with the Niger Ministry of Justice’s hotline and provide feedback about the Niger justice system.9 Other ways governments can provide better service to citizens and further engage them is to allow citizens to report problems like poor water quality, an obstruction in a roadway or a downed power line via messages and pictures through a text message or a post to a website — the GPS/ GIS position can be automatically tagged so the citizen does not even have to give location details. Governments can also use social media as a tool to communicate with citizens. In countries where mobile adoption is pervasive, but constitu- ents may not have a television or even a computer, public safety officials can provide updates through social media sites to cell phones regarding dangerous weather or other emergency situations in addition to mass texts. In the United States, cities like Boston are taking mobile technologies and citizen engagement to a whole new level. The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics’ more recent projects include an app that collects information from constituents as they drive, automatically, including the smoothness of the ride, which allows the city to see which streets need to be fixed. Adopt-a-Hydrant allows citizens to take responsibility for a city fire hydrant and shovel out snowed-in hydrants for the winter. Other cities — including Chicago and Honolulu — are developing similar initiatives. Projects like this not only save a city money, but also provide a sense of community involvement and give citizens pride in maintaining their city’s infrastructure. Close two-way communications may also help save lives. The state of Minnesota offers TXT4Life, a service where adolescents contemplating suicide can connect with community service personnel through texting chats. ”Some areas in the state are having tremendous success helping kids with texting rather than a traditional hotline solution,” Fleissner says. ”This is an example of how we need to figure out ways to connect with our younger generation in modes they want to work with us.” 2. Transportation When asked how mobile devices and applications positively impact transportation, respondents ranked improved citizen satisfaction highest. For example, honk.. honk....! 79.5% see mobile solutions aiding improved road and traffic conditions 57% see mobile technologies enhancing citizen engagement with law enforcement 72.5% envision better public safety and emergency response performance Source: CDG/Governing Institute Enterprise Mobility Survey, 2013
  6. 6. 6 Enterprise Mobility: Transforming Public Service and Citizen Engagement real-time vehicle tracking and reporting by transportation departments allows for less traffic congestion and smarter route planning. In addition, agencies can tap mobile technologies to streamline revenue collections from parking meters and other sources. For example, the city of Houston allows citizens to start a parking transaction on their phone and receive an alert when time is about to run out. Time can be added from the mobile app, which is sent to the handheld devices used by parking enforcement officers.10 In Seoul, South Korea, a city frequently acknowledged for its innovative transportation system, commuters use smart payment systems in the Seoul Underground. The systems use radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) technology for automatic payment, allowing travelers to pay their tickets with their smartphones.11 The New York State Department of Transportation offers a mobile Web app that provides constituents with real-time information on traffic, transit and travel conditions. Commut- ers can get data about incidents, construction, special events and even access cameras, weather forecasts, alerts and travel times for bridges and tunnels.12 Other mobile technologies include: • Real-time ridesharing, which matches carpool partners at the time a trip is needed through a smartphone application • Mobile parking apps, which aid people in finding the cheapest parking spaces in cities like Chicago, San Fran- cisco, Seattle and New York • Multi-modal trip or journey planning, which helps commut- ers navigate different forms of transportation — including trains, buses, subways, ferries and even private taxis 3. Public safety Police and law enforcement officials are turning to mobile solutions to enhance public safety and enlist citizens to be additional eyes and ears on the street to fight crime. For example, reporting new instances of graffiti benefits citizens beyond just cleaning up unsightly tags more quickly. Timely alerts and photos sent via citizen smartphones can help police track gang-related activity, including when a group is pushing into a new territory. This early warn- ing system enables police to quickly take action, such as beefing up manpower in targeted areas to suppress crime or turf battles before problems occur. Examples like this help explain why nearly 90 percent of the survey’s global respondents said mobile solutions can enhance public safety. In fact, when asked whether mobile technologies can enable an agency to better allocate resources to stop or reduce the loss of lives and property, 25 percent of global respondents ranked this as a top benefit. 4. Public health Mobile health technologies have the potential to trans- form health care across the globe — and are becoming extremely popular with citizens, with more to come. Accord- ing to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website, 500 million smartphone users worldwide will be using a health care application by 2015, and by 2018, 50 percent of the more than 3.4 billion smartphone and tablet users will have downloaded mobile health applications.13 Eventually, mobile solutions that monitor citizen health over the long term will provide needed data on health trends and patterns. Mobile apps for public health provide benefits that cross multiple dimensions. Top-cited enhancements by survey respondents include electronic medical records and mobile case management, such as in-field diagnosis and treat- ment where traveling health care workers access the latest doctor’s orders on their mobile devices and update patient data on the spot, rather than in the office near the end of a shift. Other mobile solutions for citizens selected for having the greatest impact on public health included general health and By 2018, 50% of the more than 3.4 billionsmartphone and tablet users will have downloaded mobile health applications. 500M smartphone users worldwide will be using a health care application by 2015. 20182015 Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration = 25M
  7. 7. 7 wellness support, dietary tracking logs, appointment remind- ers and dietary suggestions based on calorie counters or exercise guidelines. Remote patient monitoring devices — where the technology passes on data to the doctor or hospi- tal — can help keep chronically ill patients with diseases like diabetes or heart issues out of the hospital, saving money and allowing them to be in the comfort of their own home. And patients with less serious conditions can use mobile solutions to lead more productive lifestyles. On-the-move information access and communications mean health care services can be delivered anytime and anywhere instead of in a predefined place, such as a doctor’s office. ”In health care we are working towards better integra- tion across the continuum of clinical care through public health and community programs,” noted one survey respondent from the U.S. ”Mobile solutions can help us help consumers and stakeholders make needed connections more effectively.” In developing countries, mobile technologies help provide health care to individuals who would otherwise have no access. People who face a medical emergency can con- nect with doctors and nurses in large cities for real-time instruction. Smartphones are also improving vaccine supply chains by allowing real-time data of stock levels in remote facilities. This helps ensure that vaccines are available when children come to be immunized. Additionally, health care workers in the field can access health records remotely and can send text reminders to patients about needed immunizations, vaccines and follow-up care.14 In other areas that impact public health — including food service and safety compliance — mobile technologies not only give inspectors the ability to input information directly from the field, but also allow citizens to use smartphones to voluntarily provide information to the city about unsani- tary food environments or unsafe working conditions. Strategic Steps The latest data about enterprise mobility in the public sector shows a wide range of benefits for citizens and agencies alike, but organizations also face challenges as they move to greater adoption of mobile solutions for their operations. At the top of the list for many gov- ernment leaders is security and the ability of existing networks to handle growing volumes of data flowing to mobile devices. Fortunately, new technologies — includ- ing hardened data encryption capabilities, an updated Wi-Fi standard slated for 2014 and the new generation of mobility platforms — address some of the biggest roadblocks. This means government agencies around the world can embrace mobile solutions for the long term, and reap the rewards of its widespread benefits. Endnotes 1. Dr. Sara Diamond, ”Mobility Will Transform Canada as it is Transforming the World,” Meeting of the Minds, July 15, 2013, will-transform-canada-as-it-is-transforming-the-world-8126 2. Pew Internet: Mobile, 3. All research from CDG survey, ”Mobile Solutions in Public Policy,” 2013, unless otherwise noted. 4. All information from Paul Fleissner from interview conducted on Oct. 30, 2013. 5. ”Multi-million pound push to deliver smart card technology to rail passengers across the south east,” UK Department of Transport Press Release, Aug. 30, 2013, 6. All information from Sheila Crossen-Powell from interview conducted on Oct. 25, 2013. 7. ”How This Government Agency is Saving $500 million by Using Social and Mobile Technologies,” Forbes, Dec. 1, 2012, markfidelman/2012/12/01/how-this-government-agency-is-saving-500-million-by-using-social-mobile-technologies/ 8. ”How Mobile Apps are Helping Urban Explorers Discover Their Cities,” Mashable, Aug. 10, 2011, 9. ”Mobile Survey Empowers Citizens to Assess Justice Services in Niger,” Open Development Technology Alliance, April 30, 2013, mobile-survey-empowers-citizens-to-assess-justice-services-in-niger 10. City of Houston, Parking Management Division, Parking Meters Information, 11. ”Intelligent transportation systems: The brain of the smart city,” Telefonica, February 19, 2013, item/450-smart-transport-brain-smart-city 12. ”Open Data and Mobile Apps are Changing the Government-Citizen Relationship,” Slatetech, May 28, 2013, article/2013/05/open-data-and-mobile-apps-are-changing-government-citizen-relationship 13. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Mobile Medical Devices, mobilemedicalapplications/default.htm 14. ”How Cell Phones are Transforming Health Care in Africa,” MIT Technology Review, Sept. 12, 2013, phones-are-transforming-health-care-in-africa/
  8. 8. The Center for Digital Government, a division of e.Republic, is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. Through its diverse and dynamic programs and services, the Center provides public and private sector leaders with decision support, knowledge and opportunities to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. SAP is the world’s leading provider of enterprise application software, delivering mobile products and services that help accelerate business innovation for more than 250,000 customers in more than 120 countries. SAP is the only vendor to provide complete, end-to-end software solutions that mobilize an entire public sector organization. Visit for more. © 2014 e.Republic. All rights reserved.